While there were 1,600 courts, 2,000 judge vacancies remain to be filled up

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Saturday called upon the Centre to increase the budget outlay for creating more facilities for the judicial system, for speedy justice.

He was inaugurating a two-day International Conference of Jurists on Judicial Reform organised jointly by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and the International Council of Jurists here.

Justice Balakrishnan said while there were 1,600 courts, 2,000 judge vacancies remained to be filled up, the delay caused by the process which included selection, training and then appointment.

He appreciated Punjab and Haryana for having good court complexes, and suggested that they set up family courts in all districts within six months.

“A sum of Rs. 5,000 crore has been allocated by the Planning Commission for the judiciary and these funds would help in improving the facilities in court complexes… With the implementation of judicial reforms, I hope that the judiciary will have a new look in two to three years.”

Justice R.V. Raveendran of the Supreme Court said: “The real power of the judiciary is in the trust, faith and confidence of the common people in the system.” No reform could be successful without the help of the Bar. “Litigation in India was not expensive, but the charges of the members of the Bar make people think that it is costly. So I urge everyone to expedite cases and minimise requests for adjournments.”

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said 16 fast track courts set up by the government had disposed of more than 28,000 cases. It had approved the setting up of Gram Nyayalayas at Rania in Sirsa district and at Shahbad in Kurukshetra district to provide justice to people on their doorstep.

The Haryana government had also set up videoconferencing facilities in 38 courts and 25 jails. A sum of Rs. 109 crore had been spent on development and augmentation of judicial infrastructure during the last five years, Mr. Hooda said.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said a justice system that was fair, swift and affordable was also a tool for growth and development. While there was no denying the fact that a fivefold increase in the number of judges was required for efficient justice, the real change should be in the mindset to bring about immediate change.

The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Mukul Mudgal, said that with a view to arresting delay in delivery of justice and clearing backlog, suggestions were being made to increase the number of courts and improve infrastructure, but these were long-term measures. Until then, the alternative dispute resolution system would have to be made more effective.

The Chief Justice of Maldives, Justice Abdulla Saeed; Justice Gauri Dhakal of the Supreme Court of Nepal and Iceland Ambassador Gudmundur Eiriksson participated in the conference.

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